Mike ‘The Gin’ Mann

Mike 'The Gin' Mann

The first gin cocktail I ever drank?

If I’m being honest. I think it was probably some outrageous concoction that came in a huge blue barrel when I was university in Nottingham. Supermarket own brand Gin, Frosty Jack’s, Blue WKD, Taboo, Orange Juice and all sorts of other nonsense in there. Luckily I found a job in my first bar fairly soon after that and started to learn some proper drinks. We had a Bramble and a White Lady on the menu there I think they were both made for me at the same time on a training session but it was the Bramble I tried first. I was in Gin heaven.

First gin cocktail you ever made?

At the aforementioned bar we had Plymouth in the rail in the old art deco bottle. I fell in love with it. I still have a load of those at home. It was probably a G&T that I made first but I remember we had a semi regular who liked to order Gimlets. She asked me for one on my second shift and I had no idea what it was. She must have sensed my confusion and took pity on me. “Two parts Gin and one part lime cordial is how I like mine”. I fixed one up and she walked away happy. I remember thinking to myself ‘well this is easy’. How wrong I was!

Favourite gin cocktail at 7pm?

Has to be an Army and Navy. Gin (Navy Strength if you are feeling bold), Lemon Juice and Orgeat (Almond Syrup). It’s great with a splash of Orange Flower Water as well. Very refreshing and goes down so easily. Could drink those all day. I’m a sucker for anything with Orgeat or stone fruit so it was a toss-up between that and a Millionaire No.1. Sloe Gin, Rum, Apricot Liqueur, Lime Juice and a splash of Grenadine. Yes please!

Favourite gin cocktail at 10pm?

Would have to say a Martinez. A Martini comes a close second. I’m a big fan of fortified and aromatised wine as well so I’m liking them both with a little more Vermouth at the moment (especially when I’m a few drinks in).

Favourite bar in the world?

I’m lucky that I get to visit all sorts of wonderful places with my day job. There’s the occasional trip to Amsterdam as well. There are a few bars there that have been around for centuries and retain their original charm. Barrels and boiled eggs behind the bar. Wooden floors covered in sand. One of my favourites is Café Hoppe. It’s been around since 1670. Great place to sample the grandparent of Gin, Genever. There’s a tradition of drinking it with a beer over there. Hoppe is a great place for that. Also the ladies toilets are behind the bar which always makes me chuckle. Back on home soil in London I am a huge fan of Three Sheets and I love what the folks at the Cocktail Trading Co. do. So much fun.